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Grass verging on Warrego Highway proves a costly failure

Queensland truckies’ advocate Wes Walker tried to tell them, but they wouldn’t listen.

Just four months after its installation on a 1.6km stretch of the Warrego Highway at Hatton Vale, works that cost hundreds of truckies valuable time, the grass verging that was supposed to “establish vegetation and control erosion” has proved to be an unmitigated disaster.

As the picture above, snapped by Walker earlier this week, clearly shows, the grass has given up the ghost, with no roots taking hold in the bitumen whatsover.

“Look at all the time and money they’ve wasted,” Walker said.

“They’ve closed lanes down to lay the turf, closed lanes down to water the turf, and we’ve had all this rain and the turf’s dead anyway.

“It was never, ever going to work and we’re talking lots of money – hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Even after its arrival in early December, the grass didn’t look like it was loving its new home . Photo: Wes Walker

What really riles Walker is that a fraction of the taxpayers’ spend on this project could have instead gone into the installation of proper toilets and showers at the Gatton pads, the site he’s campaigned so long and hard to improve for drivers.

“This is a disgrace. It’s public money with no accountability for what they spend, and it’s all got to stop.”

The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) didn’t respond to a question from Big Rigs about the cost of this project.

But according to the site the state government uses to invite tenders to bid on road work projects, the total budget for this area was $3.9 million.

A TMR spokesperson said a site inspection on March 25 – the day after Big Rigs approached the department for comment – indicated “that while the turf provided interim erosion control and managed edge drop off issues, it was not successful in establishing growth from the adjacent vegetation.

“The turf was intended as a measure to promote long-term growth of the existing vegetation and provide stabilisation and erosion control, which is common practice in construction.

“This does not impact the safety of the road and no further rectification works are planned for this location.”


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